Sticky Notes
POSTS FROM THE ANCESTRY.COM COMMUNITY
powered by
Recent Your Stories Ask Ancestry Anne Interesting Finds Juliana's Corner

Thank you Ancestry.com!

Thank you Ancestry! After 50+ years of knowing my siblings names, but not knowing where they lived or how to get in touch with them we finally connected. Someone was getting info from my tree. It happened several times so I looked at their tree and there I found my sister that I had never seen. After many conversations by e-mail and phone, we finally met for the first time on June 12, 2012. Everything was just GREAT.

Thank you again Ancestry.com!

Dave

See who we’ve found in 1940

Who can you find in the 1940 U.S. Federal Census? Here are just a handful of recognizable names we’ve already discovered in New York and Washington DC:

New York
Katherine Hepburn   “The Great Kate” was in New York acting in the stage version of The Philadelphia Story, which had closed its year-long run at the Shubert Theater just a few days before the census was taken. She wouldn’t be in New York for long though, as she needed to be back in Hollywood where the movie version of The Philadelphia Story began filming in July of that year.

John D. Rockefeller Jr.
  The philanthropist and iconic businessman had driven “The Last Rivet” in the final original building in Rockefeller Center  the previous year and was basking in the success of his now-thriving “city within a city.”

Billie [Elnora] Holiday Born Eleanora Harris, Billie lists her occupation as a singer in a night club, and is living with her mother, Sadie, and friend and fellow musician, Irene Wilson.

Al Jolson  Scroll down the page to find David Selznick, producer of the 1940 Academy Award winning movie, Gone with the Wind. Both are guests at the Sherry Netherland Hotel.

Bert Lahr  Probably enjoying some of the fruits of his recent success as “the Cowardly Lion” in The Wizard of Oz, actor Bert Lahr was enumerated staying the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Cole Porter  At home in his apartment at the Waldorf Astoria, Cole Porter’s lists his last residence as Paris, France. Following a fall from a horse that broke both of his legs in 1937, he was suffering from chronic pain that would plague him for the rest of his life, but he continued to work, writing several songs for the 1940 film Broadway Melody of 1940, including I’ve Got My Eyes on You and Begin the Beguine.

Washington DC
J. Edgar Hoover  Living alone at 413 Seward Square in Washington, D.C., Hoover, the FBI director, had been leading the bureau (formerly the Bureau of Investigation) since he was appointed director in 1924 by Calvin Coolidge, and he would continue in that role until his death in 1972.

Marvin Gaye  The census taker arrived at the Gay family residence on Marvin’s first birthday April 2, where Marvin was enumerated along with his father Marvin Sr., who was a preacher, his mom, Alberta, and one brother and one sister.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt FDR and Eleanor are in the White House, just where you’d expect them.


1940 New York: Why didn’t I learn from 1930?

My Italian grandfather, Lou Ventura, was the easiest of my four grandparents to find in the 1930 census.

My other family lines had name changes, missing years, countries and hometowns I could never pronounce and that didn’t seem to remain the same over the course of any two decades. They had elusive documents I could never find, immigration dates and spouses that were always in flux.

Lou, though, was easy. It only took me two years to find him (I’m at seven years and counting on another grandparent). The delay was caused by a simple spelling error of the census taker in 1930.

In the five years since my discovery of Lou in 1930, I’ve also found his naturalization record, which included his birth date, when and where he and his first wife married, his hometown, an old photo, and his signature, which I recognized from birthday cards he’d sent when I was a kid. And I found his address, which led me to a current photo of the apartment house in which my mom was born, a place even she wasn’t aware of.

I totally knew everything about this guy. Except for why he wasn’t showing up in New York in 1940.

New York, New York – it’s a wonderful town.

There are benefits to having family that spent time in a large city like New York. You can easily learn more about New York via history books (try to find something written about the town I live in now — it’s all of 1,000 people, as large as it’s ever been). And you’re always just an e-mail, message board or phone call away from someone else who is researching the same ethnic group in the same community.

In this case, I found a coworker who was doing a bit of New York research herself. I told her I was sure Lou must have been living in New Jersey or working as a merchant marine in 1940. That’ when this coworker offered her help. I sent her a few details about Lou and waited for her to confirm he wasn’t there.

But she didn’t. Instead, she had the nerve to find him for me. And when I looked at his 1940 census record, I realized that Lou, once again, had fallen victim to a census taker who couldn’t spell his name.

I learned a lot from that record – Lou was living as a lodger on West 30th Street, he was still married, although the scratch marks make me wonder how accurate this is. I learned he had three years of high school, was working on the electric railroad, which I assume means streetcars.

But mostly I learned that I should have learned my lesson from 1930. I should have thought to change a few of the vowels in Lou’s last name.

Next time. I promise.

Jeanie Croasmun

Kris Williams: Genealogy & Your DNA

Just recently I received my AncestryDNA kit results and I can honestly say I was pretty shocked by them. For the most part, on my father’s side, my family has been in this country since the Mayflower - or came on ships that followed soon after.  Others came down through Canada from Nova Scotia. Everything I knew about my Dad’s side of the family brought me back to England and Scotland. My mother’s side is a bit different since the majority of her family only goes back in the United States a few generations. Most of her family came over from Ireland in the 1800s, with the exception of her grandfather who came over from Italy with his family in 1909.

Knowing all of this I asked myself, “How much can the test really tell me?” Through all that I have found on my own, I figured my ethnicity would mainly originate on the British Isles with a small percentage of Italian. That was not the case.

What were my results?

According to my DNA, I am 53% Scandinavian, 37% Southern European, 8% British Isles and there was a small 2% that was marked “Uncertain.” I was confused.

Scandinavian? Where the hell did that come from? What I thought would be my largest ethnic percentage ended up ranking third?

The results made me question what else I could learn about my family through my results and AncestryDNA. To get a better understanding, I took a look at how the test worked.

AncestryDNA uses a new DNA technology called autosomal testing. The main differences between this new technology and previous tests used are that autosomal testing examines a much larger portion of your DNA and it covers both the maternal and paternal sides of your family. Previous tests only cover one or the other and a significantly smaller portion of your DNA. So, with the help of expert population geneticists and molecular biologists, autosomal testing gives us genealogy nuts a bigger and more complete picture of our family in one DNA test.

Not only was I surprised by how convenient and easy it was to take this test, I am now excited by the other features AncestryDNA offers to make further use of my results. With my results, I got a list of matches that show me other AncestryDNA users who I may be related to based on our DNA.

With a subscription to Ancestry.com, you are able to reach out to that match and work together to figure out your common link. To make the search easier, the site even provides you and your match with a list of shared surnames from your trees. I have already reached out to one of my matches and I’m excited to start working with him to learn more about my family! Another feature I love is their interactive map, which pinpoints places of birth for everyone you have entered on your tree. It is pretty fascinating when you can see where all of your known ancestors had to travel from for you to be here. It has also made me more curious to find out the reasons behind their moves.

Now that I have my results, and have gone through all the features and have a better understanding of how the test works, I’ve learned to look at the bigger picture. All this time I had viewed my ethnicity as based strictly off of the countries my family came to the United States from, without putting much thought into where their ancestors originated. Being marked 53% Scandinavian by my DNA, I realize that my family tree will eventually lead me back to Norway, Sweden or Denmark.

Taking the history of those locations into account, this possibly brings my family back to Viking times. Vikings were known as merchants, explorers and feared as violent pillagers by coastal towns. Being well-traveled explorers, their adventures took them to nearby England, Ireland and Scotland as well as several other far off lands to establish villages. Knowing this, I am now able to see how Scandinavian descent may have dominated my results.

I can honestly say I am very happy with my decision to try AncestryDNA and am excited to see where this new information takes me! Not only has it given me some insight to my family’s past it is giving me the ability to reach out to others who may share it. The best part is that over time, my list of matches will only continue to grow as more people take the test. Who knows, after taking the AncestryDNA test you could find yourself trading family notes with a long lost cousin and ghost hunter.

Contributed by Kris Williams, Genealogist & star of SyFy’s Ghost Hunters International 

Twitter: @KrisWilliams81

I found my parents on the 1940 census record and never knew the grandmother that saved my brother’s life lived with them. This is the house they lived in for the 1940 census. David was born at this home and they had two family doctors at the delivery. Both of them declared that David was dead just after birth. Mothers grandmother was there along with her mother and the old grandmother Nannie Anderson/Craig/Hall said “Oh no, he isn’t dead,” and she picked him up and spanked his butt and he started crying. I wonder who got paid for the delivery? Grandma saved his live. You can see a picture of Grandma Nancy Jane Anderson (Craig-Hall) in my tree. This is a picture of the my mother Myrtle Montgomery and David Montgomery (very much alive) taken not long after the 1940 census record.

I found my parents on the 1940 census record and never knew the grandmother that saved my brother’s life lived with them. This is the house they lived in for the 1940 census. David was born at this home and they had two family doctors at the delivery. Both of them declared that David was dead just after birth. Mothers grandmother was there along with her mother and the old grandmother Nannie Anderson/Craig/Hall said “Oh no, he isn’t dead,” and she picked him up and spanked his butt and he started crying. I wonder who got paid for the delivery? Grandma saved his live. You can see a picture of Grandma Nancy Jane Anderson (Craig-Hall) in my tree. This is a picture of the my mother Myrtle Montgomery and David Montgomery (very much alive) taken not long after the 1940 census record.

Happy Ending

Ancestry.com is not just for tracing family roots. It can also be a medium to connect with missing family. For 30 years, we were aware of the existence of my husband’s biological brother and sister but had no place to look.

My mother did all the genealogy work for me before she passed away so I joined Ancestry.com to put it all into one place. It has been several years now and I have lots of information. On the off-chance that my husband’s biological family might be on Ancestry.com too, I recently changed his information to the biological family name.

Four weeks ago we got an email from a lady who was looking for her cousin’s mother. As soon as I saw the email, I knew that the cousins were the missing brother and sister. This has been a remarkable process and we are meeting them for the first time in July.

There are other Gaulthier children out there and we may never find them, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Thanks to Ancestry.com, one of life little mysteries has been solved.